Ladies and gentle-Fools, today I feel like a kid in a candy store. Why? Because yesterday the November issue of Motley Fool Hidden Gems was released. Two more pre-sorted, pre-excavated, and pre-graded investing ideas appeared in my and the email inboxes of thousands of other Fools across the country (and to judge from our Meet and Greet board, around the world).

Mind you, I wasn't waiting by my keyboard, finger poised over the "buy" button, primed to pounce on the bounce of Tom Gardner's pick for the month. That's just not my style. Like most of our members, before I commit my hard-earned cash, I like to examine a potential gem. Turn it over in my fingers. Consider its hidden value. Look for flaws. And that takes time. So, no, I have no intention of buying the Hidden Gems recommendations today. What's more, allow me to let you in on a secret...

I don't really wait for the picks at all. I wait for the scorecard.

Playing in the dirt
Every month, in addition to Tom's top recommendation and his guest analyst's pick (and three runner-up Watch List stocks and a handful of micro-cap ideas), Hidden Gems comes out with a scorecard of all our past picks, their price on the day they were recommended, and a comparison of how well the stocks have fared in comparison to the S&P 500 since being recommended. That's what I'm talking about.

Sure, I love the new recommendations. But the overarching concept of Hidden Gems is to help members identify and buy into undervalued, unknown, and unloved companies. And expecting a stock to be unloved on the day of its recommendation is like expecting the guests to ignore a debutante on the day of her ball.

In other words, it can sometimes be difficult to buy a gem at an attractive price on recommendation day. That's a fact of life, and common with most investment newsletters, but it's also the reason I pay more attention to the scorecard than to the picks. Personally, I use the release date as my own Foolish alarm clock. It reminds me to review our old recommendations, update my own spreadsheet on their relative valuations, and check on who's gone from undervalued to fairly valued, who to overvalued, and who still has room to run.

Because while this month's picks will get all the glory, last month's, and the ones from months before, were picked for having the same attractive qualities: low price-to-free cash flow ratios, strong balance sheets, strong prospects for growth, and minimal name recognition on Wall Street. They're likely just as strong investment ideas, but they have a considerably lower profile among investors, just because they're "yesterday's news." And that's fine with me. Just like on an eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) auction at three in the morning, I'm happiest bidding when the auction room is empty. To try another analogy (and this, too, demonstrates what a cheapskate I am, in retail as in investing) -- if you can buy the same Tiffany (NYSE:TIF) jewelry full price in a Tiffany store or for 70% off on (NASDAQ:OSTK) -- there's no question where you'll find me shopping.

Get to the point already -- what do you like?
Your wish is my Foolish command. To date, Hidden Gems has made 32 recommendations. Of those, four were "re-ups;" one company has been acquired and delisted, and one company -- our very first recommendation ever -- was realized to have been a bad call and we "sold" it. Which leaves 26 unique recommendations out there for Fools to rummage through, seeking gems that the market has tossed aside as dross. From among these, here are three that I think (and this is just one Fool's opinion, so feel free to join us on the discussion boards and tell me why it's wrong) deserve a second look:

CNS (NASDAQ:CNXS) makes the Breathe Right nasal strips you see adorning all the football players' noses every Sunday afternoon, and also manufactures an array of "brand-extension" products such as nasal strips infused with Procter & Gamble's (NYSE:PG) Vicks concoction. CNS's low enterprise value-to-free cash flow (EV/FCF) ratio of 10 provides a breath of fresh value in an otherwise richly priced market, but its price today is roughly the same as it was when first recommended over a year ago. Things are looking up, however, as last week CNS reported earnings far in excess of consensus estimates.

Fresh Del Monte's (NYSE:FDP) corporate logo should illustrate the dictionary entry for "ubiquitous." Chances are, every supermarket you go into carries several of the company's products, from bananas to pineapples to tomatoes -- and everything tasty in between. And this is one company where (free) cash (flow) really does grow on trees. So much so that despite a couple of bad earnings quarters in a row, Fresh Del Monte still collected enough cash to give it an ultralow EV/FCF ratio of just over 5. That's some seriously discounted produce. Moreover, the company's price today remains as cheap as it was when we first found it eight months ago -- proving that, as any two-year-old will be happy to demonstrate for you, bananas don't bounce.

Hooker Furniture (NASDAQ:HOFT). Let's just say right up front that Hooker is the one stock of these three that "doesn't look like the others." But despite having already risen 70% since making its debut as Tom's second Hidden Gems recommendation, on an EV/FCF basis, Hooker scores a 9 ratio. That actually puts it between CNS and Fresh Del Monte on the cheapness scale. Price appreciation aside, this company once again looks considerably undervalued, a fact due in large part to Wall Street's overreaction when management reported a drop in third-quarter profits.

And there you have it. Three classic recommendations that no one on Wall Street is watching. Still high quality. Still low price. Get 'em while they're (still not) hot.

Some Hidden Gems can take months and years to evolve into the S&P-crushing machines we believe them to be, but that just gives our members more time to buy them at discounted prices. After that, once they take off, well, Hidden Gems so far has notched five (count 'em, five) two-baggers out of 26 unique recommendations -- and three of those five are closing in on the three-bagger mark. Take a free trial of the service now and see what companies Tom and his guest like this month..

Fool contributor Rich Smith own no shares of companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.